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Jun 17, 2021 - 10:20:06 AM

tomtrain

Canada

2 posts since 6/3/2018

I am considering an upgrade on my banjo but here is what is holding me back.
I have a Deering Goodtime two resonator style and a Deering Artisan Americana openback which I enjoy for the past two years. I'm an older lad who just enjoys playing every day for 1/2 hour. certainly not a pro and still very much learning three finger style only.

My banjo;s are left handed and dont want to change that fact.

I am seriously considering the Deering Sierra Mahogany resonator style

Problem is nobody in my area stocks the Sierra right or left handed so I cannot hear it in person and am wondering if there is any major difference.

Has anyone on this forum been in this situation, can anyone tell me if they have heard the difference in what I have compared to the Sierra ? is it worth the upgrade ?

Also, it would be almost a years wait for delivery and I could also be on the side of the grass by then

Your thoughts please.

Edited by - Bill Rogers on 06/17/2021 11:31:42

Jun 17, 2021 - 10:29:07 AM
like this

2595 posts since 12/31/2005

Completely different animal. The Sierra is a professional level instrument. It will have significantly more volume. Is the sound better? That is completely subjective. Most players would prefer the Sierra sound, but that doesn't tell us about your preferences. In addition to volume, the Sierra will have a more defined tone. The notes will be fuller.  Here is Jens Kruger's demonstration video (here is another one).  A big factor to consider is weight. The Sierra will weigh about twice or more what your current banjo weighs  (11 lbs v 6 lbs).  That really makes a difference unless you are always playing sitting down.

Edited by - Brian Murphy on 06/17/2021 10:31:33

Jun 17, 2021 - 11:50:06 AM

202 posts since 9/14/2019

quote:
Originally posted by Brian Murphy

Completely different animal. The Sierra is a professional level instrument. It will have significantly more volume. Is the sound better? That is completely subjective. Most players would prefer the Sierra sound, but that doesn't tell us about your preferences. In addition to volume, the Sierra will have a more defined tone. The notes will be fuller.  Here is Jens Kruger's demonstration video (here is another one).  A big factor to consider is weight. The Sierra will weigh about twice or more what your current banjo weighs  (11 lbs v 6 lbs).  That really makes a difference unless you are always playing sitting down.


I got to play a guys Sierra open back. Sounded great. I had a Goodtime there to compare it to. Sierra sounded many times better. However, it was very heavy for an open back. I didn't care for that aspect of it.

John

Jun 18, 2021 - 1:20:47 PM

2728 posts since 4/16/2003

The Sierra will be a good banjo but getting a lefty is going to be problematic.

My suggestion is that you "shop used", and give consideration to ANY left-handed midrange banjo you can find.

The classifieds right here might be a good place to start.

Be aware that being in Canada could be a problem for some sellers.

Jun 18, 2021 - 7:04:17 PM

tomtrain

Canada

2 posts since 6/3/2018

I made an error , my Deering goodtime is the special version which has the tone ring and weighs 8.5 lbs so another 2.5 lbs for the sierra is not all that bad as I aways sit when playing.

I was hoping to hear from more users on the differenc between those two models regaring the sound quality.

I will just stick with what I have as too many uncertanties. Thanks to everyone for the replies

Jun 19, 2021 - 2:45:45 AM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

14221 posts since 8/30/2006

There is a left-handed banjo neck website, I don't have the link.  

 

The goodtime is Dry, very little sustain, rapid decay. Yours with the tone ring is minimally stronger. The Sierra is wet.

I've played them both in the same performance venue, open stage, and then I've heard them both at the jams.

I suggest you find a nice used resonator and attach it to your openback, you don't need a flange, just an attachment kit.

I'm not the only one to build using magnets to mount the resonator, it's easy, or you are welcome to confer with me off forum.

You won't have specification choices with those banjos, you get what they sell you, they love that, I assure you.

But that's nothing that a nice Cherry or Grapefruit rim can't cure.


 

Edited by - Helix on 06/19/2021 02:47:43

Jun 22, 2021 - 6:20:29 PM

43 posts since 1/25/2021

My two cents: I've been playing about a year. I'd been twanging away playing three finger style on an open back Goodtime I found cheap. I recently upgraded to a mahogany Sierra. I'd never played the instrument that I bought (got it from Elderly) but I'd tried a couple Sierras in stores before.

The first and most important thing is that I LOVE the difference in feel. The Sierra's neck is so smooth and silky. I'd been a guitar player for years, so I know the feeling of quality vs. mass production, and the feeling is all there. It's a neck that makes you want to pick it up and practice.

I will say that the things that are taking some getting used to are the weight and volume. (any high school science teachers here to make a joke?) Of course my old banjo was an open back, so it was light and relatively quiet. But the first twang of the new banjo and my wife and dog both ran and hid. I quieted it down a bit by putting a disc of foam inside the pot.

Of course nothing can be done about the weight besides getting in better shape, which is a noble aspiration anyway.

My banjo teacher tells me there's a LOT you can do to alter the sound of your instrument, so it's important to find one you like the feel of. The feel of a mahogany Sierra is like silk pajamas on a low humidity day.

I can't help you find one, though.

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